A Fox Tale

Hello all trail buds, seems like summer just started here and we are down to the last remaining days of August. As always if we don't find ourselves out on a road adventuring off to somewhere, I am always up early and scouting out what lies down the trail around the cabin. Earlier at the beginning of the month, I found myself up early and out of the cabin just after sunrise. I decided to check out an area close to home that I have neglected so far this year. Driving this particular road at sunrise, I have always been lucky to observe some sort of wildlife. I drove all the way back to South Rolly Lake seeing just a few birds along the way thus turning around and heading back towards the front, slowly scanning both sides of the road for anything of interest that might catch my eye. Over the hill around the bend just off in the distance laying on the shoulder of the road was...wiping my eyes in disbelief because I had just came through this area not more than a few minutes ago, was a small red fox kit.
Yes, the adrenalin was flowing and I was pumped as to how this situation would play out. Slowly driving past the resting red fox I pulled over off the road as far as I could. Got out of the truck thinking to myself the red fox would retreat into the woods. It did the opposite and stood up as I approached for a closer view. I had noticed a large kill spot on the road where it was obvious something had been hit just in front of where the red fox was laying.

The red fox slowly approached me as if to say "What do you have for me?" I found myself taking as many pictures as I could just in case the fox would run off. After quite some time had passed and several cars, driving rather too fast in my opinion, had passed between the fox and I not even noticing the fox, yet another fox kit appeared out of the woods. I was in fox heaven - this was a cross fox!

Cross foxes have darker colors of black and tan and red through out their body colors. These two little fox kits were all of about 2 pounds and were away from the den where ever that might be in the woods . Immediately the cross fox ran over and jumped on the red fox as if wanting to wrestle, show me what you got sibling red fox! Then he turned, checking me out coming while walking closer. Again I could not take enough pictures of this cross fox.
I had just been in Denali National Park in June and had taken pictures of several adult red foxes doing their daily wandering out on the road, but these were fox kit babies born not too long ago, out exploring their new world outside of the den. As the morning past, the park ranger had stopped to both say hello and tell me about the kill spot where the fox vixen had gotten hit by a car (probably going too fast through this area). I had observed several times, the red fox as well as the cross fox would go over to the spot where the vixen was hit and would lick the road. Knowing something about red foxes from my readings, they were licking both the blood scent and scent of the vixen. I had taken several pictures of the red fox laying just off the road looking down the road waitng for the return of the adult vixen. As the morning grew later yet another cross fox had made it's appearance as well. This day was getting better! I had to quit as the light was getting too high and dull for me. I drove home very fast to tell Destiny of my discovery and see my results of the pictures of the foxes I just had taken. Several weeks later of monitoring the situation, I have counted five fox kits, 2 cross fox and 3 red foxes. Sometimes finding them in the same spot just off the road, other times finding them farther down the road but still in the same area. Even Destiny had to get in on some of the action watching and photographing these little cuties. We did observe one adult fox that came in at a distance but didn't stay too long. The fact that the foxes are hanging around by the roadside told me several things, in my observations I have witnessed people driving way too fast in this state park heading towards the back to South Rolly Lake. Second, people passing by these little guys can't help but toss the foxes a little something to eat. I have tried not to get too emotional about these fox kits and let nature take its course. After the 3 weeks of monitoring the foxes and some 530 pictures later, I think we have covered every angle and fox personality as they moved about, sniffing and poking around along the roadside, always looking back and wondering when and where the fox vixen would return. I thought the whole idea of going camping was to leave your world of hustle and bustle behind you and slow your world down to a crawl. Maybe catch some glimpse of some wildlife as you passed through their world. It's way to obvious to me that on this stretch of five mile road that anyone is doing this. As I learned while talking with the state ranger in this park, so far some of the animals that have been hit include: moose cow, black bear cub, the fox vixen and lord knows what else that hasn't been reported. People do us all a favor and slow down. What is the hurry? You will have a more harmonious outcome. And your family as well as yourself just might get to see a part of nature that you miss by living in the cities. I guess this is why I live where I live. Right smack dab in the middle of da woods to observe nature at its best everyday and take some pretty neat pictures along the way to share with those who don't get to see as much of the wildlife that is a part of our everyday lifestyle. And as for the fox kits, watching them over that 3 weeks, we count our blessings that for such a short time, we got to be part of their lives as we were a part of theirs. So nature takes its course and we can only hope for the best that these 5 little fox kits will survive and go forth into their new world and grow into adults and carry on as most foxes will do. I hope where ever you might live, in your everyday travels, that you might slow down when in nature's yard and give the wildlife a chance instead of driving way too fast and regreting after the fact that you hit a deer, moose, bear or whatever it might be. Plus the damage it will do on both parts. It's just not worth it.

See you down the trail somewhere,
Buford T. Porcupine


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